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Corporate wellness…Need for Employers to Change the Approach to Employees Well-being

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Corporate well-being is increasingly entrenched in workplace cultures and strategies. A happier and healthier workforce enables higher productivity and job satisfaction. Employers are actively seeking new ways to reduce health care costs without jeopardizing their ability to attract and retain workers. These factors have prompted many organizations to actively promote health and wellness at the work site. Healthier workplaces can also help to attract desirable talent into the stable and encourage employees to stay for the longer term.

These programs not only directly benefit the workforce on the payroll, they also make corporations appealing to shareholders. The opposite is just as true – companies that neglect their employees are likely to bear the consequences publicly, with prominent examples facing immense pressure from shareholders and having to restructure C-level management.

Firms today should no longer wonder if corporate wellness is necessary, but instead ask how they can do better.

 

Increasing demand for and investment in well-being support

With the increased uptake of corporate well-being programs, both employers and staff are less cynical or skeptical about broader wellness concepts beyond physical health concerns, such as mental health issues resulting from work, and balancing job security with personal commitments. This trend has led to a growing demand for both health and wellness support from employers.

Corporations with well-being initiatives are also moving their budgets towards personalizing these benefits. To budget effectively, studying the results of current programs would point out the best health outcomes for staff. It’s no longer unusual to see unique coverage for employees working in specific departments to boost productivity and profitability.

 

Diversification of corporate wellness support

There’s also a transitioning from the conventional understanding of wellness – eating right, exercising more – towards integrating these components into a broader umbrella of holistic health. More employers regard emotional and mental health as a necessary part of corporate well-being. Health insurance companies are also increasingly providing program add-ons that support holistic health from a mental, physical, and spiritual perspective.

 

More holistic measures of effectiveness

From an organizational perspective, employers want to lower employee turnover and improve performance. Two key data points help to gauge the effectiveness of corporate wellness programs. Are we collecting the right data to show whether people are happier, healthier and more productive? And, are we getting the right people on to the right programs?

The first component requires an analysis of an individual’s needs, and involves defining personalized care at the right time. The second element measures their achievements against overall health goals, observing levels of productivity and absenteeism.

Considered in totality, these measures can help employees feel more secure about their personal wellness even as they throw themselves into their work.

 

Personalization of wellness in workplaces

Currently, corporate wellness programs are mostly personalized to the level of specific groups rather than individuals. This means individuals are enrolled in wellness programs with like-minded others and those with similar well-being issues.

However, with more data from existing programs, individuals progress towards building solutions with increasingly bespoke aspects.

 

Potential challenges as corporate wellness evolves

As an evolving concept, one new challenge would be proving the success of every personalized program. The outcomes from these tools are long-term or life-long, making it difficult to quantify specific successes from a health and health care standpoint. Companies want to know: ‘Is this wellness program actually reducing my costs?’

While it is possible to measure engagement, satisfaction, even stress and blood pressure reduction, companies are seeking to find new methods to directly tie bespoke corporate well-being to claim cost avoidance.

As we continue to explore these solutions to corporate wellness, we should be able to see a more defined measurement in the next five years.

 

Organizational Benefits of Employee Health Education

Wellness Programs Improve Employee Health Behaviors

The core of every good wellness program is behavior change. With the right education, skills, motivation, skills/tools, and social support, people change behaviors.  Wellness programs are good at helping people adopt and maintain healthy behaviors.  This is perhaps the biggest benefit of having a wellness program.

Healthy behaviors lead to lower health risks, and lower health risks lead to less chronic disease.  With less chronic disease employees have fewer health care costs.  This is how it looks:

Decreased healthcare costs

If you’re at a workplace that promotes exercise and taking care of your health for hours a day, your whole well-being will benefit. This in turn makes you less likely to get sick and injured, saving you money in the long run. More studies confirm that workplace wellness programs reduce healthcare costs. Less doctor visits, less pills to take, less medicine. So keep the heart disease at bay by participating in your work wellness program!

Comprehensive worksite wellness programs that improve employee behaviors will see a bending of the healthcare cost trend. Most often it will be discovered that the savings from program participation will be greater than the actual cost of the program. Almost every one of these return on investment (ROI) studies show a positive return on investment.

 

 

Reduced absenteeism

Worksites with comprehensive wellness programs can experience reduced absenteeism for a variety of reasons. Any wellness program that can reduce absenteeism will experience cost savings. Wellness programs have the ability to improve employee’s health and this can have an impact on whether or not individuals are absent from work. But there is another reason why wellness programs can have such a large impact on absenteeism. Employees who have high morale are significantly less likely to be absent from work.

 

Increased productivity

Poor employee productivity can be defined as physically being at work but not working. This type of poor productivity is called presenteeism. It is estimated that the cost associated with presenteeism due to poor employee health is at least 2 to 3 times greater than direct health care expenses. While the estimated cost of presenteeism dwarfs the cost of health care, it does not receive the same level of scrutiny among employers preoccupied with controlling the direct costs of poor employee health.

There are a lot of reasons why employees have low productivity. They may not know how to use the equipment, they may be distracted by other employees, they may not know what they are doing, they may be tired, or they might be on Facebook. One of the main causes of presenteeism is poor health.

Note: Unhealthy individual lifestyle choices may result in substantially higher levels of lost productive work time. Wellness programs that focus on helping employees that have good health behaviors will eventually have an impact on productivity.

 

Increased employee morale

Employees who are obviously healthier are more importantly happier. This is a reason that doesn’t need scientific research to back up. We are probably never going to have a good study that can evaluate that reasoning. There is, however, experience with hundreds of people who have shared such stories.

When employers offer their employees a wellness program they are simply telling them that they respect them, trust them, and want to help them be successful in life. Employees have high employee morale when they are allowed to be creative, solve problems, feel safe and appreciated, develop self-esteem, and achieve personal goals and aspirations. Employees are happy when they have a sense of control over their lives and their health.

This is one of the most powerful reasons to have a wellness program. Realistically, employees don’t care about the healthcare cost problem, they only care about their own happiness. Employees don’t share employers concern about productivity or absenteeism. They care about having a fulfilling, enjoyable job.

Therefore, this wellness program helps employees achieve all of their needs, both physical, social, and emotional. When it is all said and done, employees want to feel loved and appreciated, and when they do, really good things happen at work: Productivity goes up, customer service is outstanding, problems get solved, and people get creative. They like coming to work, they appreciate their employer, they work better with others, and they have high employee morale.

 

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Healthy habits to embrace in 2019 to stay healthy at the office

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With the holidays officially over, it’s time to get back into things at the office. With the average person spending half of their life at work, working hours are likely to take a toll on their health. Be it stress, desk stagnancy or unhealthy eating habits- the office can be quite hazardous to one’s health.

Many people start the New Year with good intentions to accomplish certain goals, only to then set their goals aside when life gets busy.

Changing behaviors is hard work! It takes a lot of time and effort because habits – whether healthy or not so healthy – are automatic and natural. It’s like trying to sign your name with your other hand–it doesn’t look very good and it takes a lot of concentration.

If you struggled with accomplishing your goals in 2018, adopt these tips to help you stay healthier at the office in 2019.

Get more sleep

Tired black woman sleeping and looking very comfortable in her bed

I’m sure you know from personal experience that lack of sleep can affect your mood and ability to concentrate. But, did you know that it also affects things like your immune system, increases your risk for heart disease, and causes high blood pressure? To name a few. Yep – not getting enough sleep not only hurts you from day to day, but it contributes to long-term health issues, too. So spare yourself the high blood pressure and weight gain, and aim to get at least 7hours of sleep each night.

Wondering how to get a jumpstart on a healthy sleep habits? Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.

Plan to eat well

This may seem like a no-brainer when talking about “healthy” habits, but yet it’s one that many of us struggle to actually successfully maintain. Eating healthy can be difficult when there’s a new fast food joint going up on every corner, but if you plan to eat well, it’s easier to fight the temptations.

A great way to save time and get healthy – a meal planning app! By planning out your meals and snacks for the week, you’ll be able to eat healthier and watch calories, all with a free app. You’ll also be more likely to stay on track with your goals when temptations both on the go and at work arise, knowing that you have your meals and snacks decided on already.

Another way to help sustain healthy eating habits is to keep healthy snacks at home and at work, so when you are feeling like you need a little refuel, you’re giving your body the proper energy.

Get moving

If you think you’re going to struggle with the first two mentioned, this one will help! Do you know that exercise offers benefits like a boosted metabolism and better sleep? In fact, early morning workouts have proven to boost your energy, focus, and self-discipline throughout the day. And those are just a couple of the perks of exercise, actually.

If you find yourself unable to find time to work out during your busy day, try something simple, like getting up and walking around your office can help. Also avoiding the use of the lift but walking down the stairs is a good form of office exercise.

Limit screen time

We live in the age of ‘electronic everything’. So to no surprise, we’re glued to our TV screens and mobile devices pretty often – okay, more like constantly. But this screen time can take a toll on your eyes, your brain, and even your emotional well-being.

To avoid physical and emotional stress from this constant stimulation, make a conscious effort to disconnect a few times during the day and at least an hour before bedtime. Simple ways include putting your phone on “do not disturb mode”, turning off the TV, and even grabbing a good book to relax your mind away from the screen.

Ready for a social media cleanse in 2019? This will take you off contact with constant phone screen.

Learn how to prioritize

Prioritization is a highly effective way to not only get your work done but to eliminate stress along the way. Learning how to prioritize at work and in your personal life will leave you feeling more productive and less anxious.

Start by writing down a list of things that you need to do and number the tasks in order of importance. Once you’ve identified the tasks that need immediate attention, you can solely focus on those tasks before moving onto those that are less critical.

Tip: Consider using project management software to help organize and prioritize your tasks at work!

Eliminate stress

A great follow-up to healthy habit of learning how to prioritize: eliminating stress. Prioritizing is an awesome way to help eliminate stress, but it’s important to eliminate stress in other ways, too.

A great way to reduce stress in your life is to write down what stresses you out along with, why these things cause you stress. Once you’ve identified these stressors you start eliminating them by working to make changes in the areas that you have control of.

Taking the time to identify the areas of stress in your life is extremely important considering that high levels of stress can affect your mood, immunity, productivity, and overall health. That being said, reducing – or even better, eliminating – stress will provide a boost to your health moving forward. 

Declutter!

Decluttering! A dreaded, yet simple way to enhance your mood and productivity. This could be as simple as taking one Saturday afternoon a month to declutter your home – things like getting rid of old mail, cleaning your fridge, or taking clothes you don’t wear to the local Goodwill are all great ways to declutter.

But don’t limit these purging sessions to physical possessions. It’s important to declutter your mind, too! Take time to unwind each night to rid your mind of toxic thoughts bogging you down. This will allow your mind to feel refreshed and recharged the following day.

Master time management

Time management – something many people struggle with. In this day and age it’s easy to get distracted, and understandably so. But these distractions lead to poor time management, and poor use of time leads to loss of productivity, and an unproductive you means a stressed-out you – it’s a never-ending cycle!

If you find yourself wishing you had more time in a day, beware of how this makes you feel and work to counteract this. Learn how to say no, get organized, and check out other helpful time management tips to master self-discipline in 2019.

Practice self-care

Last but not the least – take care of yourself! This is extremely important to keep your health in check. If you’re not listening to what your mind and body needs, you won’t be able to sustain a healthy lifestyle – both physically and mentally.

Be sure to maintain a work-life balance. Don’t get too enveloped in your work – this will lead to burn out.

Additionally, designate a time during your day or week that’s just for you. For example a “self-care Sunday” isn’t a bad idea where you spend time doing what you want to do and what makes you feel good.

Start 2019 off on the right foot!

Now that you have some new challenges in front of you, it’s time to implement these tips to get your year started off on the right foot! Adopt these healthy habits and you’ll be feeling happier, healthier, and more productive at the office and in life entirely in no time.

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